Choeung Ek : 5 Sep 2003


The Killing Fields

Between 1975 and 1978 about 17,000 men, women and children, most of whom first suffered through torture and deprivation in Toul Sleng (S-21) Prison, were subsequently brought to Choeung Ek for execution. The remains of 8985 people were exhumed in 1980 from mass graves in this one-time longan orchard. The mass graves still contain fragments of human bone and bits of cloth, are scattered around the whole area in disinterred pits.



Over 8,000 of the exhumed skull remains, arranged by sex and age, are kept behind glass panels in the Memorial Stupa erected in 1988. Most of those executed were killed with a shovel or axe blow to the back of the neck to avoid wasting precious bullets.


Bones in Bowl

43 of the 129 communal graves have been left untouched. The bowl of bones sit under a Chankiri tree, against which children were beaten and killed by the executioners.


Going To School

Today the brutal killings are only but a distant memory as the village around the "genocidal center" memorial is bustling with life. In the early morning, young children are going for lessons at a school just beyond the memorial.



A small boy on a big bike. He too was going to school holding a plastic bag for his text book.



Located 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh, the "genocidal center" was ironically set in the most beautiful country landscape, by the banks of a placid lake and amongst paddies.


Painted Sky

Many fishing traps reach out into the lake from the banks. Fishermen were preparing for a long day out.



Whilst exploring the paddies, farmers can be seen working on a new season of rice crops. 


Backbreaking Work

Men, women and child alike have to work in the fields. 



Back Up Next